Tags: beartown records, bells hill, eastville vending, hardworking families, joe murray, mudguts
Various Artists – 23 Minutes – 23 Tracks – 23 Artists (3″ CD-r, Eastville Vending, edition of 60 or download)
Mudguts – Locque Atmir Kodai (3″ CD-r, Bells Hill, BH 013, edition of 30)
Hardworking Families – BA/LS/BN (CD-r, Beartown Records, edition of 50)
Various Artists – 23 Minutes – 23 Tracks – 23 Artists
How I love a micro-compilation. Those labours of love that gather together large numbers of wonky artists and put them in a restrictive jacket. They say,
Do your thing… but keep it quick.
Of course this is excellent advice – the forethought and discipline creating a series of unrelated but often complimentary micro-moments coughing and spluttering outta your earbuds.
As ever there is a bit of personal history here. Homemade Grindcore tape-trades and the RRR-500 locked-groove monster (with its 500 individual artists) first alerted me to this fascinating stubby-nub of the ‘various artists’ family tree. Then I found the slightly more breathy Martin Archer Network series with over 100 people playing short pieces over two discs. More recently Sindre Bjerga took up the mantle with his Gold Soundz compilation of 99 international-gonks on the marvelous and irreverent Pissing in the Wind.
But this time the seed was planted by one Neil Campbell to use up all those old 3 inch CD-Rs out there. He reckons 23 minutes is around the maximum amount of music you can cram on one of these little silver discs so 23 x 1 minute pieces makes perfect sense. The Marketing and Research branch of the Eastville Vending Corporation agreed and ‘ta-dah!’ – a new micro-comp is born.
You can slice these things several ways but my favourite tactic is to dive straight in and dig this as a single piece; an ever-changing narrative of moods and themes. Then I realise that it is actually presented as a single 23 min piece so that does help things somewhat and I settle back and l.i.s.t.e.n.
So, where did my 23 minute journey take me?
Laica – Electric dodgems collapse into magnetic tessellations // Kemper Norton – brass rubbing slowed down via architectural trauma // Concrete_Field – watching a séance from inside a wax piano // Revbjelde – slopped balloons, dry spaghetti cracks // Band of Holy Joy – machine code dirty-talk between distant servers // Farmer Glitch – scary news ident // Howlround – confessions from the bristles of a shoe-shine machine // Neil Campbell – the science of dropping things at various angles // Gusset – answerphone message melancholicx – the stilted delivery making this one of the 21st Century’s saddest sounds // IX Tab – no pussyfooting with high-vis jackets // Noise Research Institute – bumplestiltskin – hands in the air! // Runningonair – public enema dub : surprisingly relaxing // Graham Dunning – radiates as multi-coloured auras // Ekoplekz – “A rare moment of calm. The bombs fall on the Eastern District so all I can see is dust.” // Elisabeth Veldon – loop-tronics raid Esquivel to bring a new clarity to damp cardboard // Decadnids – serious bowed-metal-sax reverberations border on the erotic // Xylitol – a clear autumn morning, alone in Kendal // Robin Foster – selective tones filtered by sympathetic shimmering feedback // Foldhead – mighty & dark theatrics // FM3V – chestnut seller hacks oven to play Bollywood themes // Tim Hill – tanned seabirds rejoice the new birth // Assembled Minds – I dropped my water pistol down an echo chamber (smeared surprise coda) // Sarah Angliss – Twins joint memories? Phantom limb pluck and solemn-compression electronics.
Mudguts – Locque Atmir Kodai
The original Death Eater musik – as banned from the Slytherin Common Room!
Bilious clouds of distemper billow from his holiness Lee Culver and are muddied further by dark mistral Scott McKeating… that’s how Mudguts roll. True believers take note – this cheeky 3 inch is a semi-official offering so even more occluded and forbidden than it’s dark predecessor.*
This disc gets down to business straight away so there is no reason for me not to either.
‘Widowvine’ crashed through a cloud of bad intention and night tremors to become a meditative prescription of bitter herbs and rancid smoke. Parts are reversed Santana, parts are bar room pre-brawl. As a map of psychic disturbances this marks the truly terrifying blank spots with an inky smear.
A one minute masterpiece ‘Split Gorgon’ re-lives the dispiriting experience of tuning into another person’s dream. It’s all falling, falling, falling until the brain juice squirts a different solution and you find yourself becoming Leonard Cohen (or something). Then ‘snap’ it’s over and you are awake.
Then finally, with the most evocative track title of the year, ‘First my Body, Now my Corpse’ sparkles and shudders with an almost glam-rock brightness. But this spotlight is so harsh and revealing it blisters the skin and cooks soft rubbery eyes. At times I’m minded of that Sonic Boom fella if he dug the Darkthrone. But soon enough I shake my head hard enough for them scales to fall from my peepers and I realise I’m on my knees… Mudguts glory has laid waste to my corner of civilisation and rags and half bricks are all that remains.
Phew! You dig it?
*What I’m saying is hit up Scott for a copy at the Bells Hill address!
Hardworking Families – BA/LS/BN
HWF approaches this record in pieces: abstracted sauces, performance as code, gristle, electronic manipulation and tape glitch. Forgive me. I’m gunna gush, but Tom (HWF) Bench is a master of the thought and edit school for sure.
This release solves sound problems like a damn dancer would; the old soft-shoe shuffle provides texture while clean accuracy is rustled from the percussive rudiments of tap. All built on sexy muscles the accents are a silvery jet that slips between ear and frames.
This is what I hear…
- Glutch & fromer! A displaced chord organ melts into black-flecked slush. The distant whooping crane places his beak into the shellac grooves on the Victrola.
- “Buff-uddle.” Microphone shuggle in a hair shirt. Constant motion gaffs like an okra bud over Velcro. The hobo orchestra ‘thwack’ old tins and wrestle an egg-slicer back and forth. The ripple of thin metal dances right in my forehead – things coalesce – merge – re-form into steps cut out of bright paper – Matisse becomes instruction. The code is to be cracked but a fair advantage is favoured on the light of ankle. Un-led rhythms shuffle out of this desert storm, moving against each other like lovers, all slither and explore. Tin & rin & rin & tin & tin pop-out plastic eardrums to faint electro influences? The gradual sigh of a bus coming to rest and opening up the wheelchair ramp. Dry energy – like plunging your hand into a bag of uncooked rice – each grain perfect, each cousin similar but individual. Wheat echoes; a fork balances, it’s twines interlaced with a spoon’s surly lip.
- Buttons of rubber depressed by pudgy fingers. They sing in harmonies un-dreamt by Clive Sinclair – each mercurial tone a slack-arsed fart. The washer vibe snips out via polo mint.
- Wooden planks mumble as heavy hands slap until they find a resonant pitch/probing fingers dislodge the lid and keys (the white teeth of shame) are slackened with a tone-wrench/the taught strings are teased and top and sides rubbed with soft beads/a variety of fidelities, each proper in it’s own dissonance becomes partially embedded so rich echo-parlour switches between hi-fi buff and pre-teen noise goofball. I read Miles’ BIG FUN was cobbled together outta oddments. Tom takes a similar stance but each floor-cutting here is as wonderful as an unexpected smooch.
- The opening salvo of dysentery bombs that smoke over the battlefield! It clogs hair and exposed pores – the Angel of Mons offers scant sanctuary.
- An ice-cream headache from Steve Albini’s brow. THAT THE THINK guitar sound shredded through electric fan in a pissing bad mood. Shaking frozen peas out of a Tupperware box, drilling holes into broken glass. Or, if you’d prefer, the barista’s revenge – hot milk battered through dirty filters.
- Free-text box opened up and all the pixels clump together into vague geometric shapes with impudent languor.
All in all, this disc brings an essential vitality into my soft pampered life. It’s wormed into my lugs now. I’m saved ya’ll.
Can you afford to miss this one dear reader? Can your children?? Can your immortal soul???
Tags: tusk festival
Right then folks, I’ve packed my bindle and I’m off to TUSK. Because my ‘phone is carved out of wood I shall have no access to Twitter, email or this blog for the duration so if you need to contact me you will have to stand in my presence, extend your hand for shaking and make some kind of greeting noise with your actual mouth. Hugs may be acceptable – gauge the mood.
My midwich set for Dark Tusk on Saturday afternoon is in the bag (figuratively and literally) and will, I hope, sound whip-smart at silly volume. The other three acts on are unmissable anyway.
There is much to look forward to! I am light and rubbery with excitement! See you there!
Tags: chocolate monk, claus poulsen, frozen light, gold soundz, joe murray, robert ridley-shackleton, shade barka martins, sindre bjerga, star turbine
Star Turbine – Nothing Should Move Unless You Want It To (CD, Frozen Light, edition of 300 or download)
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – Tupperwave (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.338, edition of 42)
Sindre Bjerga – Japan 2013 Tour Documentary – A Film By Shade Barka Martins (DVD-r, Goldsoundz, GS#130, edition of 26)
Star Turbine – Nothing Should Move Unless You Want It To
This canny duo of Claus Poulsen & Sindre Bjerga have now been together for about 6 years – that’s longer than The Beatles live-performing career. And in that time they’ve moved from loveable moptops (read: hessian cloaked druids) to Abbey Road sophisticates pulling sounds from a cosmic-scurf fortress and mixing them cleverly with improvised crackles and hopped-up speech interventions.
On this disc they reach deep into the hard drive and present, in the main, truncated live performances; the bacon in the bap, hurling you straight into their fully articulate sound cavern.
It starts as you’d imagine – mice invest dollars in sonic-grip technology, aiming their blunderbuss straight at you for the duration of ‘An/Auf’. It feels sort of sticky and thick and on the verge of panic. I feel much more comfortable if I keep my breath even and calm.
Grey-rubber ripping shakes a tail on ‘Hearing Voices’ among some seriously screwed vocals and inter-planet hum. The rushing of tape grot adds a complimentary momentum pulling your ears in different directions; microscopic insects rearrange your nerve endings.
Some sort of My Bloody Ventolin wash creeps through the recording, ‘Looking For the Centre’ a heady rush of airbrakes and panpipes bleeding into a, into a bloated walrus gas pouch?
[worried reviewer checks sleeve notes in panic]
Don’t worry. It’s my bad. No sea mammals were harmed in the creating of this particular jam… it’s just the ‘Fractal Zoom’ piece unpicking my learning centres and scrambling early illustrated encyclopaedia memories. Gosh! The tape work on this is black as tar and twice as difficult to remove.
The cherry on the pie belongs to the wonderfully titled ‘Ape Escape’ that sounds as if IRCAM released its answerphone message recorded after a rather noggy Christmas party. OR… photocopying your arse and sending it to Dick Raaijmakers. You my dear listener will have to work that one out yourselves.
Closer ‘Alef 0’ sees Claus take a sharp mallet to Sindre’s basic recordings and goof them up good and proper. How he’s managed to turn this herring into a Tangerine Dream I’ll never know but it’s heavy as bad news (never BAD NEWS) and rich as freshly ploughed soil.
Despite this recent Euro-nonsense (AKA Brex-shit) the Star Turbine will be back in your town soon. Pull your canoe out the mud and set a course for their cleansing murk.
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – Tupperwave
Fifty minutes of RR-S starts with a respectful tweak on NWA’s collective nips and then gets exponentially odder by the minute. The trademarked pocket jazz sound is still in effect but over a longer duration this is embedded and augmented with child-like interactions, tangent-shearing thoughts and bakerlite ring-tones of the mind.
Question. But just what is Robert Ridley-Shackleton? An effortless creature of spoken wordisms, a stream of consciousness half-thought jester, a purple pretender, a dry-rattler extreme? Or perhaps he is the new plastic messiah?
As an excitable, hyperbolic fanzine-style reviewer it’s almost too much to take in. Do I describe the actual sounds coming out my headphones? Oh… I do, do I? Here goes…
…scratch, hiss, crackle, sniff, sex-rap-brit-funk, casio-donk, sniff, meandering monologues, scratch, clonk, harsh noise sock, house keys, humming & mugging…
…but what a thousand tapes with similar components don’t do is pose a really important question. With a comedian’s nicotine-fingered timing RR-S unravels what it means to entertain and what it means to be entertained?
There’s a long tradition of artists pushing and pressing at the limits of acceptable entertainment. And I don’t mean that violent or sexist bullshit, that wreckers of civilisation cul-de-sac, but the more fundamental – how far can I go unwrapping to find the very essence of my own personal music? Family favourites like Gwilly Edmondez, Hugh Metcalfe and the Shadow Ring have been there and chipped out their own answers in the No Audience Mount Rushmore but our very own RR-S has a bag of chisels too and he is already tappy-yappy-tapping incoherent pictograms at the base of the cliff.
The whiffle and flounce feel like a diary of instant conversation created in the moments between a late tea and bed. The Illuminati and God get equal footing to Mr Poo and Mrs Wee as mistakes, pre-thoughts and apologies are sent direct to you in a monologue of seemingly endless imagination.
Oh yeah… there is much rattling and shaking with the texture of Quaver’s eggs.
One of the ‘traditional’ musical pieces, a 5 minute keyboard funk jam, ends with the sound of brittle punnets being crushed (it’s sound art – listen!). The other (a 3 minute keyboard funk jam) launches into a discogs/format paranoid rant backed with static/analogue card-noise war and a riff on taking apart the post-creative process re: publishing.
I’m happy with myself I think
RR-S concludes. As well you might be – the most singular record of the year.
Sindre Bjerga – Japan 2013 Tour Documentary – A Film By Shade Barka Martins
A what? A DVD-R? That most neglected of formats gets a swift brush up and plane ticket to Japan for this super-charming documentary.
See! Sindre (and brother Jorn) explore downtown Japan and creep through the narrow streets looking for the off-off-map venues played on our Norwegian friend’s first visit to the home of the mighty Budokan.
Marvel! As Sindre sets up his trusty yellow Dictaphones, echo tube and tape mess in cramped bars, tiny arts spaces and a beautiful elephant temple; blowing hot steam through his cobbled-electronics, bristly mouth parts and drone-boxes.
Watch!! Various ex-pat goofs and clean-cut Japanese fellows captured doing their own damn thing: solo keyboard hums, circular clarinet, chromed electronics, theatrical goon impressions and electric- fan-versus-acoustic-guitar living sculptures.
Shade’s camera is a friendly traveling companion; always present with a pack of tissues; clear, bright and attentive but never in-your-face. The downtime of a tour is captured with a practiced eye as attractive, vibrant shows are interspersed with sleepy train rides, airport snoozes and the gentle panic of being lost in an unfamiliar city.
Proving the No-Audience Underground, although sparse, is strategically placed on a global scale the gig-goers lap up Sindre’s approach to tape manipulation in a very physical way; lobbing projectiles at him during an instruction piece and (incredibly politely and gently) scything miniature cymbals across the room to topple Bjerga’s constructions of WalkMan/Dictaphone/steel resonator.
But of course this wouldn’t be a trip to Japan without a session in a silk robe and Sindre rocks his white-patterned shortie like a motherfucker!
Like all Gold Soundz releases this is super-limited so I’d make a bee-line for this quick to feast those peepers.
Tags: chrissie caulfield, digitaldizzy, sky high diamonds
Sky High Diamonds – Helioglobe (download, digitalDIZZY, dD103)
Sky High Diamonds – Ghosting The Edge (download, digitalDIZZY, dD94)
Well, this is embarrassing.
I was going to review an EP called Ghosting The Edge from Sky High Diamonds (Sarah Gatter). I’ve been listening to it on and off now since shortly after it was released in June. Now I finally get round to actually doing the writing and I find out that she’s released a full length album in the meantime!
This is actually a win-win situation. Both you and Sarah get a full length review of a whole album rather than a cursory overview of a three track EP, and I only have to write it up once.
Put the lid back on the jar
…isn’t the most obviously haunting sentence you’re ever likely to hear, but it’s been bugging me since I downloaded and listened to the EP. The track ‘Black Honey Jar’ has this line repeated over and over again until it becomes like a sinister chant – or possibly an order to a recalcitrant child. Every time I came back to the EP this was the line I had remembered, drilled into my brain by its rhythmic effect and sounds that accompanied it. ‘Black Honey Jar’ has been worked on since then and appears on the album as ‘Jar.Honey.Black’. The repetition of the unlikely mantra has been reduced but, while I miss that strange refrain, the track is the better for it. And there are plenty more sinister repetitious chantings on the album to keep you in nightmares.
The two things that hit you most about this album are it’s sense of rhythm, and it’s sense of space. Even on the more (for want of a better word) ambient tracks there is a definite feel of a pulse and movement that seems central to the way the music progresses. Each track has it’s own space that it occupies too – informed by the rhythms that have been used to construct it and built upon with related textures and vocals. Take ‘Hunt Poet’ which happens over a background of sounds that are a bit like a film projector, giving the effect of a black & white cinema film happening behind the music or, at the other extreme end, we have ‘Sparking Limbs’ which sounds like it’s being performed in a war zone. The vocal styling at the end of that track make it sound like Kate Adie meets Björk. Yeah, NOW you want to hear it don’t you?
The title track ‘Helioglobe’ is one of the most beautiful examples of enhanced drone (a genre I just invented) as you’re likely to hear. The drone backing is a simple pulsating G that varies gently as the track progresses and the main vocal is a simple refrain fed through a delay with lots of feedback. Over this is layered more vocals each in their own time frame and the effect is a quite gorgeous counterpoint disturbed only by the house alarm going off 2 around minutes in – I always look round when I hear that! This is an example of the ‘space’ that exists in each piece and the way that those normally annoying ‘superfluous’ sounds you get when recording at home are here incorporated into the music. Rather than edit out that alarm, she’s left it in and integrated it into the texture such that it sounds like it was always intended to be there. The rhythmic element is mainly taken from the drone pulse, but the delay time takes over in the middle when it becomes the dominant texture for a while.
More obviously rhythmic is ‘Your Parasites’ with its industrial/mechanical beat that’s just slightly louder than the vocals such that it feels like she’s almost straining to be heard over the top. Here the rhythms get creepier and creepier as they gradually take over and grind to a halt at the end – has she been eaten by a giant cockroach? I’m too scared to look, and Kafka isn’t around to ask! Maybe that’s what the next track ‘Unseen Death Scene’ is about? ARGH! This has flies in it so maybe the insects really have taken over! I’ll wager that dark low drone is a giant wasp… Do wasps eat honey? Has anyone consulted the bees?
Speaking of bees (I don’t just throw this stuff together you know), the revised ‘Jar.Honey.Black’ is particular favourite of mine as I mentioned. The rhythms here seem derived from the vocal line that opens it, with incidental clinks from (I presume) a (I hope, honey) jar. There are a lot of seemingly incidental noises incorporated into this track and they really add to the feeling of it being recorded in an actual space – even if they weren’t necessarily recorded at the same time. There are breath sounds, and what sounds like the noise of something rubbing the microphone while recording. In my house that would almost certainly be a cat, but I’d be too much of a cleanist (another word I made up) to leave it in. Here again, the otherwise extraneous sounds are edited into the recording and made part of the rhythms of the piece. It’s all just wonderful to hear.
‘Sea Shanty Prayer’ is another drone-based track, with creaks and pops that give the feeling of being at sea on a rickey wooden ship. The large amount of reverb on the vocals means we’re either low down on deck in a large space, or we’ve been shrunk and we’re actually on top of a ship in a bottle… on the sea. I particularly love the idea of the latter so I’m sticking with it.
As for the final track ‘Sparkling Limbs’ – well. It’s hard to do justice to this in words really, you just have to hear it. Ideally 15 or more times, each louder than the last. I stand by the ‘Kate Adie meets Björk’ quip I made earlier and that’s maybe the best I can come up with. The only thing I have against this track is that it’s not half an hour longer.
I do recommend you also get the Ghosting The Edge EP to go with this album – it’s a free download, so hey, why not? Although ‘Jar.Honey.Black’ in its final form is a great track, hearing the earlier ‘Black Honey Jar’ is a different, if related, experience. Both affect each other. And it will make sure you always put the lid back on the jar.
My one concern about this album is it’s left-leaning propensities. No, that’s not a political point; a lot of the tracks sit very heavily on the left side of the stereo image. Listening on speakers, the effect isn’t too bad, it’s a little bit like she’s whispering to you in one ear. But on headphones it can get quite wearing and you can feel the palpable relief when you get to a track like ‘Ozio’ that has more conventional stereo panning. I’ve been told by Sarah that the album will be remastered and re-released next year, so I hope this small issue will be ironed out by then.
If you want to know how this album was really made (as opposed to my fevered ramblings) then Sarah has a blog post about it all on her website. I deliberately didn’t read it until I had written this review as I didn’t want it to influence what I was hearing. If you do read it then you can see just how different the production and the hearing (well, my hearing) of an album can be. That in itself is quite enlightening.
… and I still remember to put the lid back on the jar. Public service music at its best.
Tags: abh, artbreakhotel, church shuffle, joe murray, ross manning, tom white, vitrine
Church Shuffle – Aura Deterrent (tape, Vitrine, VT25, edition of 100)
Ross Manning – Natural Causes (tape, Vitrine, VT27, edition of 100)
ABH – Drag (tape, Vitrine, VT30, edition of 100)
Tom White – Automated Evangelism (tape, Vitrine, VT028, edition of 100)
Church Shuffle – Aura Deterrent
Another set of classic tape-werks from those Vitrine wizards.
The sleeve tells me Aura Deterrent was recorded direct to a ‘Singalodeon Karaoke’ and while I’m not familiar with that exact device I feel I’ve lived the best parts of my life in the warm, comforting fug of this signature cheap tape hiss.
This modest and unassuming tape mixes broken beats (‘Liberty Choice Falafel’) with spoken word, field recordings and instrumentation to create basic structures. But it’s the magic of the medium sprinkled over these foundations that gives everything a Mars-like tint; pinky red and drugged-up warm.
Before I think about napping ‘Phone Ring’ rattles like an extremely polite noise tape, excusing itself for volume but weaving complex patterns from left-over sonics – I’m shot though like milky coffee.
Take ‘Monty Order’, a comforting lentil dhal of a piece, that circularly flirts like a shadowy ring on a shadowy planet – abstract groan-happenings whipped up from carefully manipulated tape hoof with uncomplicated feedback acting as cruton.
The self-depreciation of ‘You could have bought a house’ (if what? If you’d not started a tape label?) adds a splash of vinegar to the warm rumble, the clotted sounds all buffed up and polished by cheap electronics.
So while this is purring like a cat in one way, there’s a sharp claw extended… just in case.
Ross Manning – Natural Causes
Percussion workouts that run the gamut from scrap-metal-dinosaur-bar-brawl to tinkling-glass-rod-foreplay.
Ross Manning is an Australian and therefore adept at the ancient art of sound-mugging; whereby a collection of related tones creep up behind you, pin your arms to your side, and envelops. No need to struggle as the argy-bargy slips a practiced hand into your inside pocket and removes exactly seven dollars.
The whiff of homemade instruments and DIY electronics is ripe and strong. Such gloriously natural and human sounds can only slip out of the lonely ramshackle workshop. Think Moondog’s chops played on Harry Bertoia’s vibrators.
The beard-rockers can goof on ‘Catalogue from a Young Man’ all construction site abstraction but a gentleman may entertain a lady when ‘Dub Date’ speeds up and up and up to a Nancarrow velocity. Each percussive stroke sharp and precise; mapping the exact grey explosion from fat raindrops.
The sidelong; ‘Song for Eugene’ takes glorious time to deliver like a preacher. The smeared window squeaks, a chorus of faulty windscreen wipers, are gently drowned in frosty lake; the crackle of ice all but muffles the gamelan tones slowly booming in the crisp air above.
But what’s that? Baka Pygmies reach for the most sonorous logs and clap them, slap them across a wide stereo field. The rhythms are exotic and eccentric, scoring circular patterns in the air growing more complex and waxy by the minute. I try to follow the connections, marking each change in crystalline tone, percussive intensity with a simple chalk mark. Until it all becomes too much, I’m knee deep in white dust and whacked out as Gorilla Glue bud.
Extras: (1) Cover art shows some rickety pencil drawings of the instruments within. All spindly and ragged this insight helps an old codger like me visualise. (2) Sold out at source so you’re going to have to dig for this victory. (3) The sound quality is beautifully sharp and deep. Audio snobs take note!
ABH – Drag
[Editor’s note: band name on inlay card is ARTBREAKHOTEL but in label listings it is as above. As you will.]
Reader, you have a choice. You can imagine the man-made or the natural; a faulty malfunction or a raw natural process ‘coz both apply to my tin ears.
One-man wrecking crew, Nobuo Yamada, is joined by Newcastle’s New Blockaders in some form (psychic, physical, spiritual, actual) to rattle the edges of reality with a scrap merchant’s calloused hands. Something decidedly metallic is scraped against bone (or shell!) while a field recording of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake is blasted from the top of the historic Morden Tower. I posit ‘Drag’ is either: a badly-oiled machine crashing through its gears or the heavily amplified sound of a lobster shedding its carapace? You decide.
Despite the absence of Geordies, ‘Spin/Off’ is no less hectic and reminds me of the time I was battered with a rubber hose.
I dropped my keys into an enamel kidney dish and took the beating willingly. As the truncheon swished and rudely flexed I used my heat-vision to melt the copper wingnuts holding the Town Hall’s scaffolding together so the poles fell like giant pine needles noisily scattering on the cobbles beneath.
A temporary bliss of forgetting washes over me (hiss, shissshhh (internal tape noise)) but soon enough the deep clang of crab claws tap out an occult rhythm on my exposed throat.
Tom White – Automated Evangelism
London’s Tom White has researched and translated a singular vocabulary from the humble reel-to-reel tape machine. These antiquated pieces of sound propaganda have been used by many mind-roofers but no one makes it gush quite like Tom!
The building-blocks of his tape language recall the rutting of sentient sponges; both deeply wet and intimate. But it’s the brutal punctuation that makes a listener sit up straight and say
Abrupt slops bookend gooey, muddy, pops right from the get-go on ‘Evidence of Tampering’. One sparse sound-matrix is overlaid over another, building up a sonic checkerboard that (and this is where you hear a master’s hand at work) never becomes cluttered or slips out of focus. The landscape is precise and tight yet builds up an urgent sense of motion; for this music moves with an awkward beauty… all elbows and knees.
And this dancing abstraction eventually bows to the unlicensed hiss of surreptitious street recordings – a domestic detail held and turned over in Tom’s hot paw until it clicks together brilliantly, forming a broken tune fragment (yet cleverly framing a clutter of ‘pop and crackle’).
The third and final movement stutters like a shadow flickering over a chain-link fence. Ghostly ‘phafs’ and ‘vumps’ ripple as the scales of a snake do; the constant expansion and contraction – mesmerising as sneaky Kaa singing ‘Trust in Me’ ya hippies!
Shimmering crickets rub their legs in King Tubby’s yard on ‘Lapillo’ as rubber tiles are slapped against wooden boards. The gentle pissing of water lubricates a shifting sound-platter serving a hot human hummus. Things become more rhythmic and I picture a hip-joint popping and locking in its socket: a juddering bone wrench worthy of any Old School Hip Hop crew until meek croaks and phlegm waves soak up the battered piano I left for dead on the shore. This trip is a dreamer, a brocade curtain-raiser for sure.
SOLD OUT AT SOURCE! So if you want hands-on tape manipulation at its very best you must dial 0800 T-W-H-I-T-E and ask for a (wink wink) thumb tweak on the ferric (wink).
sliver lizards: joe murray on olivier di placido, fritz welch, kelly jayne jones, ross parfitt, jon collin, yol, culverOctober 8, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: beartown records, culver, early music, fritz welch, joe murray, jon collin, kelly jayne jones, matching head, olivier di placido, ross parfitt, winebox press, yol
Olivier Di Placido & Fritz Welch – untitled cassette (tape, humansacrifice, HS0010, edition of 75 or download)
Kelly Jayne Jones & Jon Collin – Sheffield, 9 August 2015 (tape, Early Music)
Jon Collin with Ross Parfitt – Münster, 10 April 2016 (tape, Early Music)
Yol – This Item Has Little Or No Scrap Value (tape, Beartown Records, edition of 48)
Culver – Gateshead Soup (tape, Matching Head, MH213)
Olivier Di Placido & Fritz Welch – Untitled
Absolutely no nonsense Technicolor squall and dramatic brokenness from that most hectic of fluffer duos: Di Placido/Welch.
Like stitches in yr lip this stings a little as it wrenches new shapes outta junk-drums and garrotted-guitar. Frantically itchy as scabies it is… the scabby metre has you shuffling on and off the hot foot never quite sure where to hang your hat. But I’m diggin’ it… diggin’ it bad.
I’m listening with an abstracted grin now. I just can’t help it; the reptile part of my brain fair goofs on the hard/soft, fast/slow choices being presented to my dense grey lumps. But at the same time my debonair city-slicker love-node is lapping up the lightening-fast interactions and improvisations between flapping pig skin and eviscerated coiled steel. The perfect music for the metrosexual caveman perhaps? Shit… let’s throw a party to find out. I’m on nibbles.
Is that some post-production fingering I can hear in the backmasked vox that plays us out of this side? Wonderful, wonderful… let’s get some electronics soaking up this gravy to deglaze the nuggets.
The other side* made me squirt like Slaine in full-on berzerker mode such is the slap and clatter, the fizzing rip and hi-hat chit-chit-chit-bash. Like an erotic jazz experience it manages to create that brassy plateau of living a constant high… then stops on a teasing sixpence.
It’s not all hi-NRG jizz-riffles though. One small section’s a right downer of industrial ‘booms’ and ‘crashes’ played out next to a juddering (bass) washing machine that segues neatly into a promise of friction and anatomically crude charcoal drawings. Phewy.
The art of the improviser occasionally gets ladled with faux academic nonsense from highfaluting bodies, boards and authorities. A pox on them. This is vital as hydrogen and alive as a fresh pig because it’s free from any grey-beard permission.
Play this at your next lecture and watch Prof implode!
*I’ve used the rather unhelpful ‘this side’ and ‘other side’ descriptors because there’s nothing as bourgeois as track titles or side demarcations on this babycake. Total Hardcore yeah.
Kelly Jayne Jones & Jon Collin – Sheffield, 9 August 2015
On seeing the title a ripple of excitement forced me to check last year’s journal and I can see I was right there, in Sheffield, when this piece was recorded.
…firmly camped upstairs for the rest of the show Jon Collin & Kelly Jones played guitar & flute but nary a note was plucked or blown. 99% of the sound came from feedback tones as fresh as a handful of snow down the trousers. Thin and minty… menthol smoke sprouting from the fingers. Control was the watch word and even a dropped e-bow couldn’t interrupt the stately ‘hhiiiimmmmm’…
Listening back to this, in a domestic setting, seems to downplay the austerity and dial up the astringent complexity. The sharp guitar tones (sliver [Editor’s note: I suspect a typo but am leaving it in for the sake of poetry] lizards shimmer across cool marble) mesh perfectly with the breathy feedback/flute (crystallised ginger crushed into powder and applied to the forehead) and create a ritual of pure transcendent beauty.
I’m often lost in the fog of metal or jazz (crashing and slashing) but the paleness and gentle simmering of these mercurial sounds has tickled my mind forever with its frosty bliss.
Jon Collin with Ross Parfitt – Münster, 10 April 2016
It starts with twin guitar plucking, wild and free as a Manx cat, but stretching out time into an almost cosmic nothingness.
However sparse and spectral this recording is though there’s a right-in-your-face attitude with some heavy clarity. Those brushed-steel sounds emerge from the plucks adding an odd gamelan ‘kong’ to the twisting strings, reminding us we are on a journey. From here to where doesn’t really matter but the steady pad of the foot and swing of the arm propels this music constantly forward.
Don’t look back.
A lake of clear water lays still and calm. Birds (too far away to distinguish species) swoop lazily overhead. All is peaceful until the standing stones begin to quiver, small pebbles roll down to the lake sending ripples across the surface drawing patterns that weave and double cross.
A watery maze appears. The walls clear enough to see through but refractions set up a prism effect showing the landscape with a rainbow light. Glorious colours indeed… but what’s that smoke on the horizon?
Yol – This Item Has Little Or No Scrap Value
Ever wondered what JAZZ would sound like after Yol had had a fair go at it? Wonder no more as ‘Finley Crafted’ kicks like a Sidney Bechet joint with bruised ribs. Yakety-Sax and Ten-to-Two drums are pushed out a porthole but the pulse… the all important swing remains. It’s all syncopated beats and bomb-detonation throat, man. Gosh! This is heady, heady head-est schizz right from the get-go. These ‘live’ recordings are juddering with malevolence and stark contrast. ‘Bleed Mouth Parts’ and ‘Trapped in Portland Works’ are two of the most violent and brutal recordings I think I’ve ever heard. Sorry Extreme Noise Terror. Yol has beaten your usually exceptional ROOAAOOORRROR trump with a single (but scientifically focused) gob, cheap spanner set and polystyrene block.
Real rubble is thrown about for ‘Bird Feathers’ a rare decent into bass with (what sounds like) a fully pressurised deep sea diving suit dragged down a spiral staircase – as you listen, ear cocked against the air tube, it pulses ‘Vuphhhh-chk-hhhoooofff’.
The final boof , ‘A Medium Experience’ brings the hooligan noise back into home territory with the warmness and (dare I say it) comfort of interlocking manacles. Again my jass-ears are focused on the clattering percussion; the tinka-link of scrap metal that divides time like a punk Dejohnette. Do I have to say it? Essential. Essential and life affirming motherfuckers!
Culver – Gateshead Soup
What is there left to say about Culver? The most singular of artists he does his thing with no regard for fashion or favour. You’re into it or you’re not.
This tape (same as the last and same as the next) was picked up at a live show and apparently not available via more ‘official’ channels. What? Less official than a regular Matching Head release… that’s like trying to copyright snowflakes, man.
But what’s it sound like? A slowly emerging landscape of loops that I’ve tried to scientifically represent (a) to (g):
(a) a foul machine heating up and (b) three solitary acoustic guitar notes
(a) with (c) brown organ smear
(c) and (d) foreboding doom rumble
(d) incorporating (e) bleak metallic thunder
(e) gives way to (f) plumes of black smoke rising over the battlefield
(f) gently diminishes for (g) Valium earthquake
(g) x 2 fades out incredibly slowly leaving you praying for a start to the endless nothingness…
Tags: dario lozano-thornton, early music, field recordings from the caucasus, joe murray, winebox press
Dario Lozano-Thornton – 42 Rokeby Terrace (self-released, CD-r edition of 30, ‘Slightly Deluxe’ CD-r edition of 20 or download)
Various Artists – Kazbek: Field Recordings from the Caucasus (2 x tape, Early Music, EM102, edition of 70)
Dario Lozano-Thornton – 42 Rokeby Terrace
Well-scrubbed and softly spoken, Dario Lozano-Thornton shuffled onto the North East Dictaphone scene a few years ago as the random egg-nog in multiple electronic/improv pick up groups under the performance name Unvoiced Velar Plosive.
While I could see Dario had greasy fingers in tape manipulation I had no idea he was an axesmith too. That was until I saw his Sonny and the Sharrocks extreme free-jazz; the chops rattling bones in an Italian restaurant (for real). So when he passed me this disc, reeking of blues and nostalgia, I booked some quality time with myself to drink sweet moonshine in a single intoxicating gulp.
The back-story here is that each tune (music and lyrics) is built out of first time improvisations and recorded with the luscious intimacy only a home recording can provide. It features a cast of characters (indeed the new cream of Newcastle’s music scene) and a Midnight Doctor or two.
This is darned remarkable stuff that leaks a new kind of wax out of those old blues records you don’t play as much as you really should. This is no ‘I-got-up-this-morning’ pastiche but a neat rosewood cabinet. Each little polished drawer opens with a satisfying smoothness and contains a delicate song-ling yawning and stretching as you wake it from hibernation. These things are carefully folded and scored and reveal delicate treasure made of muscle, gut, breath and bone.
Examples? The effortless smoke of drag your sentences becomes an erased Tom Waits with only the wood grain remaining. Caustic streaks of violin that capture the universal dustbowl on another’s woe build (along with that stray spectral mbira) a stark bony construction. Beefheartian (yes!) Zoot Horning, but with the sorrow bar whammed, on electric coles, holds a magic mirror to cut outs; a beautiful bruise of sound – harp, guitar, strings, oboe (?) and musty Dictaphone.
The pace is slow and deliberate. There’s no sense in rushing as volcanic sand gets stuck in your plimsolls. Things follow a natural flow: a guitar line bleeds into a vocal, a vocal blossoms into a saxophone wail or mbira pluck. The songs are short – a minute, a couple of minutes in the main proving, yet again, that brevity is an end in itself.
Think it, say it, get out.
Various Artists – Kazbek: Field Recordings from the Caucasus
Beautiful recordings of some of the planet’s most wonderful music.
A few years ago Jon Collin’s award-winning Winebox Press released this in a deluxe 4 cassette-and-handmade-box edition that was a joy to weigh in the palm. I had the pleasure of exhibiting it (and a bunch of other Winebox releases) at the ‘Everyone Loves Tapes These Days’ exhibition. But, close though I was, I never managed to snaffle one of these earthly delights. Since then my days have been marked by a raincloud until… Jon launches a new edition on the soon-to-be-essential Early Music label.
Format-junkies can still swoon over the double-pack-cassette-on-minty-green complete with grainy pics of an awld gadgie and wifey but for me the music is the draw, neatly compartmentalized across four generous sides.
I’m no musicologist but the rise and fall of the gruff voices on the VOCAL ENSEMBLES side meshes the harmonies my pampered western ears have grown accustomed to. So this is all about the clash of sick tones, rich as paprika; whether the swoops come from a group lurching; their voices like a car speeding over a hump-back bridge (the kind that leaves your stomach fizzing) or solo muff aching with sadness [Editor’s note: Wait, what?! Oh, I’ll let it go…].
The sweetness of the SONGS AND ENSEMBLES include the truly wonderful Ashiq Nargile and move from ‘blues’ conversations over slinky strings to someone that sounds like Fergal Sharkey holed up in the cheese caves. These recordings are informal in the best possible way and littered with start-up strums, coughs and genial asides. There is no clinical Real World shit here but genuine, squat-on-a-carpet ambiences. Oh yeah… the woodblock accompaniment to the rasping, gasping accordion set is pretty mesmeric.
Gentle ducks at the wrestling festival opens WINDS AND REEDS where squealing and greasy pipes get a thorough work-out. Reed organs crackle with eccentric tunes, popping and parping like the magical mouse-organ. Then we get soft flutes – overblown split bamboo in some eye-watering Eastern jazz – to groups that sound totally Morocco with dissonance overlaid in patterns as old as memory tiles.
And there is no let up on the final side INSTRUMENTAL STRINGS – raw as neat spirit infused with spruce resin. These tunes are plucked with a rural urgency, the unmistakable sound of people who need to get shit done before the sun goes down. I’m all speed-freaked by the business until a dulcimer tune transports me back to 1980’s Tales of the Unexpected with its mysterious off-klang.
If you’re looking for some real genuine direction take up these two tapes, listen and bury at the cross roads. I swear your head will never be the same again.
Tags: culver, joe murray, la mancha del pecado, lee stokoe, midwich, miguel perez, mp wood, neck vs throat, the soundroom, tusk festival, xazzaz, yol
Dark Tusk, Saturday 15th October, 2016
I’m delighted to be playing at the above event, taking place as part of the fringe of TUSK Festival, 2016. Here’s the blurb from Lee ‘Culver’ Stokoe:
With the arrival of Miguel Perez in the UK to perform as Skull Mask at TUSK, it would be unthinkable to let him escape back to Mexico without congregating with some of his closest conspirators from the Northern noise void.
Culver & La Mancha del Pecado: with six collaborations to date and numerous splits and joints amassed, a live collaboration between these 2 horror drone obsessives was inevitable…
Midwich: one of Miguel’s most ardent advocates via his Radio Free Midwich blog, this is a mega-rare live performance from Rob Hayler’s solo electronic machine-dream.
NeckvsThroat: an ongoing postal duo of Miguel and Yol, binding guitar and voice with barbed wire and discarded steel.
Xazzaz: sinkhole drones, guitar fog and harsh dives from darkest Northumberland.
Plus sound installation by MP Wood.
2pm till 5pm at the Soundroom, Cuthbert Street, Gateshead, NE8 1PH. 15 min walk from Sage Gateshead.
Free with Tusk pass, £3 without.
Way cool. I’m still figuring out what my set will consist of but whatever I play will be called ‘NADA/ROTO’ which is cribbed from a tweet by Miguel and describes his daughter’s reaction to his music. Once I post this I’m going to blow the dust off my MC-303 and edit some recordings of the faulty strip light in my cellar plinking and buzzing. Sounds exciting, eh?
See you all soon!
Tags: 19f3, cardboard club, dulcie murray, duplo chat, joe murray, kek-w, moon mist music
Duplo Chat – 5th July 2016 (tape, possibly on Cardboard Club?)
Duplo Chat – Duplo Chat (tape and A5 artzine, Moon Mist Music, edition of 30)
KEK-W – “Three-Inch Improv” (3” CD-r, 19F3, edition of 9)
Duplo Chat – 5th July 2016
It’s the Summer Holidays [Editor’s note: well, it was when Joe submitted this article – such is the painstaking editorial process here at RFM] and the perfect way to avoid the blistering sun, thrashing hail or apocalyptic floods is to stay in and review tapes with the kids. This time Dulcie, our youngest, takes the helm and listens to two new mysterious Duplo Chat releases.
Over to you Dulcie…
It sounds like something trying to escape from inside a box, in the middle of the wind. It’s a croaky old machine, rusted up and about to malfunction. A tired robot tap-dancer is on their coffee break. The wooden spoon hits against the side of a porridge pot.
We turn the tape over and…
It’s a person acting out ‘rain’, a broken wooden flute. Static on a TV with no signal. A deep voice booms from within a mask. It’s shovelling up snow and then scratching the spade against the concrete beneath or drawing with chalk a small pattern or jagged shape (bump not cobbled); a donkey pulls a cart full of apples.
What do you think of the packaging?
Errr… it’s like something that you’ve found in the bottom of a shopping trolley. It looks icky.
What do I say? Startled guitar and dry tape noise in a dimebag. File under ‘skink-musik’.
Duplo Chat – Duplo Chat
We use the same approach on this slightly longer tape that bears all the hallmarks of our Robert Ridley-Shackleton (but… fingers on lips, shhhhh).
Our survey says…
This time I hear a frog with a person in its throat… making cookies; a sad elephant crying about losing its family in the Metro Centre. Now it’s slowed down applause (from the 90’s), a phone turning on… an android heart-attack. This sounds like rewinding an old movie… a DVD glitching out. A clown squeezing their big, red nose or Darth Vader whinging.
What do you think of the zine Dulcie?
Oh great… orange is my favourite colour. It looks like teabags have been pushed onto a glass table and you’re looking at them from underneath.
What do I say? She’s damn right and on the money!
KEK-W – “Three-Inch Improv”
A delicious DIY release from the heart of rural England and the mind of the mighty Kek-W.
Across the 10 short tracks Kek engages dark electronics, FX-heavy syrup and static-spitting instruments. It’s a trip, man, but who cares what I think? Bring on the child labour and zero-hours contracts. Dulcie whispers to me…
Sounds like a falling star, sleeping sparkles just keep coming and form rainbow rain. // A pet band! The cat’s on the fiddle and the dog’s on the drums. // Electro Adams Family but scary …something weird is going on. I hear chanting. // Bassy beatz are suspenseful with tiny wailing, or sucking spit through your teeth. // A happy bee goes to work on the train. // Chugging pins. // Space disaster movie with slow trombones. // Wrenching open a bag of manure. // A dying bag of rocks.
This tasty disc comes in an old-fashioned wage-packet including yellow n’ black micro-art piece, an homage to Stryper?
Tags: dante's ashtray, distraction records, faniel dord, jazzfinger, joe murray, quagga curious sounds, shareholder, stuart chalmers, yol
Faniel Dord – The Curse Of The Dripping Jaw (CD-r or download, Dante’s Ashtray)
Shareholder – Five Mile Throwdowns (self-released tape or download)
Stuart Chalmers / Yol – Junk Seance (CD-r & collage in decorated envelope, Quagga Curious Sounds, QCS_090, edition of 30)
Jazzfinger – Beachy Head / Moroccan Car Park (D. Harwood Remix) (7″ vinyl in screenprinted cover, Distraction Records, DIST23, edition of 100)
…and here’s another thing. Cock-punks talk about ‘meaning it’ but the NA-U are well used to full-immersion in their practice. No-one dials this shit in. You’re either totally committed or you may as well settle back to watch Oranges Are Not The Only New Black. Or something.
Here are four examples of total commitment. Are you sitting uncomfortably?
Faniel Dord – The Curse Of The Dripping Jaw
Faniel Dord kills the song, deletes the long-form drone and brings back the radio play with his utterly bonkers, psychedelic horror noir – THE CURSE OF THE DRIPPING JAW.
It’s a story as old as storytelling itself; the mortal narrator lifts the veil between the two worlds, receives an ancient and evil wisdom and is then cruelly punished for his trouble. The gods are such dicks yeah?
It’s totally base, crude and infantile, as Dord swoops through a cast of barely comprehensible characters each revealing a grim (and usually dripping) secret.
So far, so Spike Milligan, but what sets Dord firmly in the wonk-camp is his eccentric timing and ‘rude kid’ narrative. Voices speak over each other, interrupt, argue and go off onto muttered tangents. They lose their script and adopt different accents mid-sentence. These characters are not so much unreliable as actively confusing and devilishly impish.
And like all good radio plays the incidentals lend an extra layer of gosh. This being a Faniel-joint, fings get rambunctious and frenzied quickly; the foley work stands proud but with deranged intention, like planting a fresh turd in a gravy boat. The musical numbers have a twist of the Alan Bishop about them as the spaghetti-western-meets-his-Uncle-Jim vibe informs a couple of tunes or even the warbling of (deep breath) Wings!
If you’re looking for the perfect antidote to po-faced rumble and plinks dial ‘F’ for Faniel and get in touch with your inner-Rawlinson (NSFW).
Shareholder – Five Mile Throwdowns
BRONTOSAURUS-MONOLITH- QUIT -MUSIC FROM THE VERY EXCELLENT SHAREHOLDER LURCHES OUTTA MY ‘PHONES TODAY. TREACLE-THICK AND HOT-SWADDLED IN 50,000 TONNES OF FUZZ AND DISTORTION. Q:SOUNDSLIKE? A BLACK WREATH OF A VOICE OFFERS DARK CRITIQUE WITH A POET’S EYE. SUPER-HEAVY, WITH SERIOUS DAMAGE INTENDED, TWIN GUITARS MAY MOAN, MAY ROAR, MAY MAJESTICALLY IMPLODE – AT ODDS WITH THE WORLD AND AS QUICK AS PLUCKING A DUCK. THE TRAP SET LAYS BURIED DEEP, DEEP, DEEP THEN HOPS FULL-FRONTAL CRASHING AS FLINT ON STEEL (WITH ALL THE IMAGINED SPARKS). MEAT TENDERISER BLUSTER MIXED WITH THE DRUNKS WITH GUNS DEDICATION TO PURE THUDDING REPETITION. SAY IT ONCE, SAY IT AGAIN, KEEP ON SAYING IT. MOMENTS OF RESPITE ARE SLIM BUT OFFER SOME COLD COMFORT: HUGE CHUNKS OF IT IS MORNING ARE SPECTRAL AND SPIDER-LIKE, MORPHING INTO A GAMELAN CHIMING – A LEAKING BEAUTY. AN UNEXPECTED MADNESS DELIVERS AN ACCUSATION,
IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF YOU
MAKING STRANGE BEDFELLOWS WITH COLD HOURS, A GENUINE CREEPY FOOLER (GLAD I CAN’T UNDERSTAND A WORD). WHEN A ROUGE BASS NOTE NOSES IN, ALL PINK AND AQUIVER, I WONDER
CAN YOU BE BOTH MATTER-OF-FACT AND IMPASSIONED?
THE SURLY/CONFIDENT DREAMLIKE IS ANTHEMIC TO THE POINT OF FINDING OUT WHERE JIM KERR LIVES, RINGING THE BELL AND THEN KICKING HIM RIGHT IN THE NUTS. SHAREHOLDER – ALWAYS FILLING ARENAS.
Stuart Chalmers / Yol – Junk Seance
An almost indescribably excellent collaboration from the King of the Loops and the Master of Kinetic Poetry.
The frantic pace and electricity of opener ‘World on Fire’ shakes my varmints like Kid 606 did back in the day when it was acceptable to wear Hi-Tops. It’s a hyper-real explosion fizzing with extra-strength gristle taking Yol’s scorched-earth screams and Stuart’s Dictaphone frot into strange new territories.
A stunning symbiosis starts to take place. I’ve always been fascinated by the politics of collaborations; who gives and who takes, where the total becomes more than the sum of its parts, how compromise can open up new avenues of grot. And here you have two artists seriously leaning-in to each other; the methods start to bind in a ferric DNA with the hoarse throat and metallic tinkle meshing perfectly with the sophisticated Dictaphonics. Check out the liquid tape-scree (sodium burning bright) and desperate industrial voodoo cures [Editor’s note: typo for ‘curses’? Don’t care – I’m leaving it in.] of shattered lung on Rusty Rats.
Did you? Recovered yet?
And those moments just keep coming and coming; ‘Pop Eats Itself’ and ‘Secret EVP Door’ [Editor’s note: my favourite track, astounding] crackle and fizz like blistering paint. The sound bubbles up with malevolence, rippling and roaring with an evil turpentine stink. Small moments catch my magpie eyes… is that Leonard Cohen, a castanet, a dropped coin? Has Yol keeled over and fainted? Why can’t I feel my toes?
Closer ‘Best Shot’ is like a peak into a fantasy dimension. Puppet-master Stuart controls a rogue Yol and pits him against the real thing using the in-built slurring qualities of the Dictaphone to mimic and provoke. It’s a pointed statement, with added whirr… the muscular text smudged into granular sound poetry.
Jazzfinger – Beachy Head / Moroccan Car Park (D. Harwood Remix)
Jazzfinger drill deep into the earth on ‘Beachy Head’. Smudged groans overlap each other like large terracotta tiles. The high-tension pings pepper things up. A forever-murk of old tape gunk, air-to-air recording techniques and telepathic improvisation grease the wheels in ways only Jazzfinger can.
As ever, listening to a Jazzfinger jam, equal and conflicting forces tear at your brain; the urge to submit and go under, drown in the pregnant fullness or treat this with an archaeological bent and carefully sift through the multiple layers, up to the armpits in rubble and soft red dust.
As reviewer I had to flick between approaches to bring you back this missive and found myself spending hours, possibly days putting the needle on and off, on and off, never quite sure if it was night or day, making astral travel a distinct possibility.
The flipside,’Moroccan Car Park’, is an eccentric remix, bold in terms of scope that shimmers from barely-there gossamer tones to full-on horn blasts perfectly echoing the ‘whale talk’ vibe of side A.
With such rich material to work with D Harwood is wise to craft a self-standing structure, distinctly recognisable as Jazzfinger, yet strangely unfamiliar and distant. This wonderful blend swirls like pungent spice or choking incense, filling the room with deep memory.
Packaging detail: This seven-incher comes in a deluxe package… an eccentric fold out sleeve that nestles the precious wax like a lotus flower. The dark image is, essentially, blacker than black with a delicious tackiness [Editor’s note: presumably Joe means ‘to the touch’, not ‘cheesiness of design’] and sulphur whiff. Includes download code too for the ultimate customer service experience.